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Posts tagged ‘nuns’

I Love Being a Nun!

While this post is entitled, “I Love Being a Nun!”, actually I am a sister. Nuns are those who are cloistered and primarily involved in the ministry of prayer. Those of us who are sisters are involved in apostolic ministry – and that’s a big umbrella (teaching, hospital ministry, parish ministry, social work, working for social justice, etc.).  So, it would be more correct for me to say, “I love being a sister”, which I do often. But since people often call sisters nuns . . .

Well, you see what I mean.

Anyway, nineteen years ago today I entered the convent and started the process of becoming a Dominican Sister of San Rafael. I made my first profession of vows in 1996 and my perpetual vows in 1999. And while nineteen is not one of those special numbers like 20, 25, or 50, it still seems pretty significant to me. I was 40 years old when I entered (I guess you can do the math). And I still love being a sister. My family tells me that they have never known me to be happier. Living in community – doing work that is satisfying and of benefit to others – praying together with a community of sisters on a daily and regular basis – being encouraged to continue to study . . . to be all we can be (for the sake of others) . . . What can I say but that I am grateful!

And Meister Eckhart, the Dominican mystic from the 13th century tells us, “If the only prayer you ever say in your entire life is thank you, it will be enough.”

I highly recommend this life to others!

Here I am with John and Don, a couple of friends, at a party prior to my entering the convent.

 

 

Here I am playing the guitar at a ceremony for Sister Alexa, our newest novice, just a couple of weeks ago.

How to Choose the Way We Live Our Lives

As the Vocation Minister for our congregation of Dominican Sisters, I am often asked about how to choose from among the many wonderful possibilities of vocations. It is easy for us to choose when Choice A is clearly good, and Choice B is clearly bad. But it usually doesn’t work that we. We most often make choices from among things that are good. And if they are good, we also know that God is in them. So we are also not making a choice between God and Not-God.

Now much as I would like to tell many gifted, generous, and committed women that the best choice is to become a Dominican Sister of San Rafael, alas, I cannot do that. We only know our own hearts. And, as much as this has been a wonderful and life-giving vocation for me, others have other fulfilling vocations to live.

So how to choose? Perhaps the Sufi poet Rumi can help us. I don’t think I could say it any better!

Let yourself be silently drawn
by the strange pull of what you really love.
It will not lead you astray.

~ Rumi ~

Holy Spirit, draw us.

Going Gratitudinal – Part 4

Today’s “Gratitudinal” Scripture passage is from Philippians 4:12-13:

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

We find exhortations to grateful living outside our Christian tradition. Baha’u’llah, the founder of the Bahai faith said, “A thankful person is thankful under all circumstances. A complaining soul complains even if he lives in paradise.”

Do your prayers include expressions of gratitude—even in those times when you feel a desperate need for God’s action and intervention? What is the overall makeup of your prayers?

Gratefulness at dusk in Sonoita, Arizona

Taken on retreat at St. Rita Abbey, in Sonoita, Arizona. This is an abbey of Cistercian nuns.

 

 

 

Transfiguration and First Vows

On Sunday afternoon Sister Colleen McDermott, OP will make her First Profession of Vows as a Dominican Sister of San Rafael. She is delighted that the Gospel reading of the day

Sister Colleen McDermott, OP

from Mark 9:2-10 is about Jesus’ Transfiguration. Jesus’ disciples saw him on the high mountain, suddenly, as he truly was . . . even though they didn’t understand. All of us are also on a journey to becoming more of who we truly are . . . even though we may not be able to see it clearly or understand the process.

Sister Colleen’s profession will be one more step on her journey of becoming. A transfiguration of a sort. And we, the Dominican Sisters, are delighted that she wants to continue with us on our journey becoming more of who we are called to be.

Let Us Present Ourselves to God

Today is the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord Jesus, celebrating the day that Mary and Joseph brought him to the temple to present him to God. Many of our sisters made their first profession of vows on that day, so this feast is always special to the sisters, reminding them of that day.

Below is a picture of the motherhouse chapel in which the sisters professed their vows. Neither the chapel nor the motherhouse exist today because of a fire in 1990, but  the sisters who professed their vows on that day, know that their vows and God’s faithfulness still stand.

The old motherhouse chapel of the Dominican Sisters in San Rafael

Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple to be prersented to God. Let us pray:

Christ, be our light.

Jesus, light of the world, you revealed the love of God to us
– let our lives lead other to the truth of God’s mercy.

Jesus, longed for savior, you are presented with the gifts of the poor;
– help us to dedicate our lives to those in need.

Jesus, child of mystery, your mother’s heart was pierced by prophecy;
– strengthen all women whos dedication to you brings pain and sorrow.

Jesus, child of promise,Simeon had waited and prayed for your coming;
– give us patience and hope as we pray for the fulfillment of your gospel.

Jesus, joy of all who seek God, Anna had given you lifelong service;
– bless the elderly and teach us how to give them joy and encouragement.

Bountiful God, you are father and mother to us. You receive the dedication of the infant Son, Jesus, with two turtle doves. You inspire aged Simeon and Anna to bless and announce his mission. O gentle, strong God, we rejoice in your care for us. Help us to draw those who turn away from yo in fear. Let the saving light of Jesus bring truth and peace to our world. This we ask in his name. Amen.

– from People’s Companion to the Breviary, Carmelite Monastery, Indianapolis, IN

Even Jesus’ Family Thought He Was Mad

This is a door of a Dominican Sisters' convent in Pisa, Italy.

In today’s Gospel (Mark 3:20-21) we read:

Jesus came with his disciples into the house. Again the crowd gathered, making it impossible for them even to eat. When his relatives heard of this they set out to seize him, for they said, “He is out of his mind.”

Some people wonder why a young, happy, and intelligent woman would want to be a sister. They might even think it’s a crazy idea.

What might God be calling you to do? How might God be calling you to live? Do you worry about what people might think or say? “What-people-think” never stopped Jesus – don’t let it stop you. Come and meet the Dominican Sisters of San Rafael on February 4th. We don’t know what others would say, but we don’t think it’s a crazy idea.

Would You Ever Think about Walking through a New Doorway?

Doorway at a home in Caleruega, Spain, St. Dominic's birthplace. Might a Dominican doorway be inviting you?

In today’s Gospel reading we see Jesus naming the Apostles and sending them (the word apostle means one who is sent) to do the ministry of preaching. All of us are called at the time of our baptism, and we are all sent to preach the Gospel in our own particular way, according to our own particular gifts.

The Dominican Sisters are hosting a “Come and See” day in San Rafael. It is an opportunity to reflect upon how God is calling you to preach the Gospel, in your own particular way, according to your own particular gifts. Why not come and see if life as a Dominican Sister might be good way for you to live out the call you received from God at your baptism. The date is February 4, 2012 – please contact us at 415-257-4939 or vocations@sanrfaelop.org for more information.